When strange mice appear on trail cameras, scientists realize how uncommon they are

Daniel Burton often conducts surveys in his capacity as refuge manager for the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) in order to maintain a consistent level of predator control. Burton was recently astonished to see an unusual mouse dashing across the ground while doing one of these weekly patrols.

In a news release, Burton said, “I hopped out of the car for a closer look. It sprinted right in front of me.” “The mouse was twice the size of a house mouse, with larger ears, wider eyes, and a longer, black, bushy tail—and it wasn’t running, it was hopping.”


Burton set up video traps nearby in an effort to get more information. Within a few months, Burton had thousands of pictures of these unusual mice, which eventually turned out to be quite uncommon.

While this was going on, ecologist Trevor Bauer and a group of researchers set to work and successfully captured one of the uncommon mice, which they called Patches.

In the news statement, Bauer made it clear that measurements were taken of the animal’s head, tail, torso, ears, feet, and pads. He had a neck pouch that was noticeable and pointed toward the center. Although we were quite convinced about the species, we nonetheless collected tissue samples and cuttings for genetic testing.


Samples from Patches were transferred to the Australian Museum for analysis. Everyone then waited. Ecologists finally validated what they had previously guessed a year after the initial sighting: the creatures were Dusky Hopping Mice, a brand-new species in the Scotia Wildlife Sanctuary.

Other significant aspects of this encounter emerged as well.

According to AWC’s press release, “The Dusky Hopping Mouse was thought to be extinct in [New South Wales] until 2003.” Since then, sightings of the Dusky Hopping Mouse have been reported close to Broken Hill, which, before Burton’s meeting, was thought to be the southernmost place for the species in [New South Wales].


Scientists are ecstatic to acquire additional knowledge about this amazing species. How about the mice? They must be unconcerned because they are engaged in the basic joys of a wild existence, otherwise.